As the Schengen treaty guaranteeing open internal European borders continues to crumble, Italy is gearing up for a tidal wave of as many as 400,000 immigrants “in the coming weeks,” according to Italian sources, and worse still, they will be coming to stay.
Italian authorities fear that their worst nightmare is materializing before their eyes: as droves of immigrants arrive on Italy’s shores, they have no choice but to remain in Italy.
According to analysts, the worst is yet to come. Until a few days ago the Italian peninsula was a transit channel for tens of thousands of desperate migrants en route to the countries of Northern Europe, yet now these same migrants are finding themselves stranded in Italy because of closed borders to the north. Overnight, Italy has moved from being a passageway to a dead end.
Six countries— Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Slovenia—have suspended the treaty for two years, and others appear ready to follow them. In many respects, Schengen no longer exists.
With the recent closure of the Austrian border, the border points have already begun to be besieged, and authorities are expecting a migrant tent city to form there. Moreover, when good weather returns, they warn, arrivals could increase tenfold.
The Italian Minister of the Interior, Angelino Alfano, lashed out at those proposing that Italy follow suit and shut down Schengen, warning them that the economic damage to Italy would be enormous and that “we cannot put barbed wire in the Mediterranean Sea,” suggesting there would be no way to stem the tide of immigrants. Read More